Since the beginning of the automobile, the camshaft controls the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves on the engine. Now it may have served its time: At the Beijing Motor Show, Qoros, the Chinese manufacturer, presented the Qamfree concept vehicle, which does not require a camshaft and therefore does not need the wear parts for toothed belts. The technology developed by the Swedish company FreeValve (in English: free valves), a sister company of supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg.
In the technique called FreeValve PHEA, the valves are moved electrohydraulically rather than through the camshaft. This should make the engine smaller, lighter, stronger and more economical and cleaner. "We believe that the technology will be at least as big a step as the change from carburetor to direct injection," says company founder Christian von Koenigsegg.
The great advantage of the new technology: The engine management can control the opening and closing of each valve individually. This always happens in the conventional technique depending on the other valves and the position of the camshaft. Koenigsegg speaks of a "kind of freedom that engine developers could only dream of".
The Swedes compare the old technique to a pianist whose hands are tied to a broom handle - the piano as the engine of the car and the broomstick as a conventional camshaft. The FreeValve technique frees the pianist from the broomstick and makes him clang freehand with his ten fingers on the keyboard.